20 time cruisers thoughts on Summit
This is the first time we have sailed out of San Juan, hopefully not the last. We really loved that it was hot and sunny immediately, as opposed to going out of Florida, which can be chilly the first and last days. Temps were in the 80's every day here. We stayed at the Best Western hotel which is actually inside the airport--nothing too fancy, but SO convenient when you arrive in the evening. There are several restaurants across the street from the airport, a very easy walk. Taxi took about 20 minutes to port. We arrived around 12:30 pm and they started boarding immediately (tho you couldn't get into your stateroom until after 1:00). Celebrity has many nice touches like the champagne on arrival, they do go the extra mile to make you feel special. We like the muster drill--inside in the A/C with NO lifejacket required!--especially. Our bags came within a couple of hours, we had packed swimwear in our carry on so we could enjoy the ship all day before our 8:30 pm departure. We had late More
dining (8:30), so on the first night we just ate in the buffet so we could see the beautiful lights of San Juan upon sailaway.
Some of our favorite spots on board were: at the aft end on deck 11 there was an open air area where you could eat, also a full bar out there. It was so pleasant to have a drink there in the late afternoon with the sea breeze and fantastic live music. We also liked the Cova Cafe with its afternoon selection of tapas, and freshly baked croissants in the morning. Our cabin was pretty typical of all the lines, would have loved a bit more drawer space and a decent hairdryer. The shower was bigger than most others we've had.
All in all, not really a perfect cruise experience, but extremely relaxing and enjoyable. We would recommend Celebrity to couples and older singles who are seeking an upscale experience with not a lot of "hype" to sell add-ons. Probably not for party hearty types, or families with kids-- though they do have child care area, we saw very few children on this particular sailing. Less
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Cabin review: 082196
nice location just steps away from the elevator, two floors above was the dining room. The room had adequate closet space, but unlike other ships did not have a drawer in the vanity area. The hairdryer and shampoo were under par.
The ship is due for dry dock soon, and wear and tear does show. The bathroom had a mildew smell. We did have a nice big round porthole window that was cool, as we were on deck two, the sea was "right there"
Port and Shore Excursions
We only walked off the ship in Antigua and did some souvenir shopping at the dock. Went to a bar where for $5.00 you could get two local beers and use their wi fi for free all day. This sure beats the 65 cents a minute on board the ship! We have been to Antigua once before and took a day sail around the island, it is very beautiful and the beaches are sublime.
We went on a tour--Silver Moon--which we booked online prior to sailing. It was first class all the way. We went on a 24 person catamaran, with the crew hoisting the sails off and on, a terrific lunch and a full bar all day. We stopped to snorkel twice, once was "swimming with sea turtles". They threw bait off the boat while you were in the water, and here came the giant turtles and stingrays--quite an experience! The other stop was to see a shipwreck, which my husband said was just "so-so". We actually didn't see the island from on land except for the shopping area at the cruise terminal, which was very nice.
We booked a tour with Spencer Ambrose online. They met us at the ship, we were in a van with 8 people. Our tour guide drove us all over the mountainous roads, stopping several times for a taste of local food. We also stopped by an active volcano that smelled very strongly of sulphur. After this we made a stop at Jalousie beach, which was just OK, then back to the ship on a very fast boat which was pretty fun. The two Piton mountains were pretty spectacular to see. We felt this was not an island where we'd want to spend a vacation, as the beaches were rocky. Someone told us the other side of the island has pretty white sand beaches and nice resorts. We saw a lot of poverty there and the aftermath of a terrible hurricane with mudslides.
Six of us got together and rented a van, cost was 88.00 plus gas, so for approximately 35.00 per couple we were able to see most of the island at our own pace. Parking in downtown Phillipsburg (Dutch side) was a nightmare, we basically let the other two couples out for a little shopping while we drove around looking for a parking place. There are some casinos near downtown, we couldn't even park on their lot if we agreed to go inside and play on their machines! This was the only down side of our day. We went over to the French side driving by many beautiful vistas stopping at Orient Beach for a few hours. We went to a place called Waikiki, renting a padded beach chair was 10.00, and lunch was pretty expensive. They had an open air restaurant, nothing fancy, where lunch for two would easily been $100.00, so we opted for the snack bar and it was still over $50.00 for two sandwiches, fries, and two beers. Orient is the best beach for people watching in the world so I guess it was worth it (though our friends brought some food off the ship and only bought the french fries!). We took a short stop in Marigot, looked at the fancy shops there and the marina full of fabulous yachts. Then drove the coastline back to the ship thru the Dutch side. We were impressed with the new hotels and shopping mall being constructed out on the west loop. Would love to come back to St Martin/St Maarten for about a week or two someday!